Thursday, July 6, 2017

20 Christian Classics Every Christian Should Read

Recently I explored the book 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics and largely found it lacking. Though some of the books clearly belonged (and will be repeated in my list below) much of the books I felt did not. The book emphasized spiritual and devotional works, many of which the average believer had never heard of. The book did, however, force me to consider what 20 general Christian classics I believe every Christian should read.

First, let us lay the ground rules. The works should be considered orthodox. I am not against Christians exploring non-orthodox works per se, but in collecting a list of twenty books that ought to be read, it seems best to explore the giants on whose shoulders we stand on. Secondly, they should be genuine classics. How we define the term may largely be subjective. I did not limit it to authors who are deceased, however, the book ought not be new. Thirdly, the following are only books I have read which severely limits the list (so Chesterton's Orthodoxy didn't make the cut). I am, however, a pastor and am writing this list as one. So here are some classics I have read and would pass along. Thus I am largely avoiding large theological works that the average believer will avoid (so Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics didn't make the cut nor did Augustine's City of God). I have also sought to limit each listing to a unique author. For example, I could add the Narnia Chronicles or Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis to the list, but I already have Mere Christianity. Likewise, Bunyan's autobiography would make for a great addition, but Pilgrim's Progress is already listed.

With that said, here is my list organized in chronological order.
  1. Apologia by Justin Martyr
  2. Proslogium by Anselm 
  3. Confessions by Augustine
  4. On the Incarnation by Athanasius
  5. Beowulf by Anonymous
  6. On Christian Liberty by Martin Luther
  7. Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin
  8. Foxe's Book of Martyr by John Foxe
  9. Pia Disideria by Philip Spener 
  10. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  11. Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon 
  12. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
  13. Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer 
  14. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
  15. Christianity and Liberalism by Gresham Machen
  16. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  17. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Baiton
  18. The Cross of Christ by John Stott
  19. Knowing God by J. I. Packer
  20. The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
Perhaps in a future post I will explore these books in greater detail.
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